I remember my parents became so quiet and still when they realized I couldn't raise my head off the floor.
Tell Us What you remember about the impact of polio
In 1956, I was 5 years old and about to start kindergarten. The memories are pretty vague but I do remember the spinal tap. It seemed as
though an army of people were holding me down on the hospital cart in order to
draw spinal fluid. I screamed and screamed and screamed. My toys were burned
except for one stuffed animal that I wish I still had. The hospital put it
through the sterilization process if I recall correctly. I think it was a rabbit
and after being sterilized, the poor thing became quite mis-shapened. I hated to
have my parents leave the hospital and I would cry for them for a long time.
They started leaving me small gifts to open as they snuck out. They couldn't
bear to hear me cry as they walked down the corridor toward home. I remember a
few of the gifts - one a puzzle face, another - a nesting plastic barrel with
the smallest barrel holding a kitty with a fiddle. Funny what we remember. The
nurses would bring hot, wet, wool towels around to place on the patients in my
ward. I will never forget the smell of hot, wet wool. I begged for them to put
the towels on my back but they said I wasn't sick enough.
That's all I remember of the time. Now, in 2007, I have been diagnosed with
post-polio syndrome. I lived my whole life without any residual problems but now
am experiencing the latent effects of polio. If you do not know about this
syndrome, please research and educate yourselves. It caught me by surprise -
muscle pain, debilitating fatigue and rapidly fatiguing muscles have changed my
life in the 21st century though I had polio in the 20th. I urge everyone to find
out more and talk to your doctors about it.